This book looks at movements of communities which formed the lower and middle rungs of society in medieval and early colonial India. It presents migration, mobility and memories from a specifically Indian perspective, breaking away from previous Eurocentric studies. The essays in the volume focus on labour, peasant and craft migrations, and in fleshing out the causes and trajectories taken by these communities, they speak to each other by addressing similar issues as well as documenting varying responses to analogous situations.
A fascinating history of migrations of ‘people from below’, the volume adopts a trans-disciplinary approach and uses inscriptions, official records, and literary texts along with community narratives and folk tradition. This will be of great interest to scholars and students of migration and diaspora studies, medieval and modern South Asian history, social anthropology and subaltern studies.
Table of Contents
Foreword Suraiya Faroqhi. Preface Acknowledgements Introduction Vijaya Ramaswamy Part I Peasant Migrations Migration and Mobility: The Collective Memory of Kongu Vellalar Peasantry of South India S. Gunasekharan 2. Social Mobility and Migration among the Jats of Medieval India Pragyan Chaudhary 3. Rethinking Mobility: The Story of the Gujars Shail Mayaram Part II Artisanal and Merchant Migrations 4. Pirla Panduga: Muharram Practices of the Deccan Weavers, Their Migrations, Songs and Memories Naveen Kanalu 5. Migrations of the Weaver Communities in Medieval Peninsular India, 13th–18th Centuries Vijaya Ramaswamy 6. From Marwar to Malwa and Back: Artisanal Mobility and Circulation during the Eighteenth Century Nandita P. Sahai 7. Many Madanpuras: Memories and Histories of Migrant Weavers of Northern India during 19th–20th Centuries Santosh Kumar Rai 8. Circulation of People and Patterns of Maritime Migrations in the Indian Ocean during the Pre-modern period Pius Melakandathil 9. Meos in the process of Peasantisation and Islamisation in Medieval Period Surajbhan Bhardwaj
Vijaya Ramaswamy is Professor of Ancient Indian History and Chairperson, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. She teaches Indian economic history, religion and society, and is also interested in Tamil folklore and women’s studies. She is the author of Textiles and Weavers in Medieval South India (1985); Divinity and Deviance: Women in Virasaivism (1996); Walking Naked: Women, Society, Spirituality in South India (1997); The Historical Dictionary of the Tamils (2007); Textiles and Weavers in South India (2007); The A to Z of the Tamils (2010); and The Song of the Loom (2013). Her edited books include Re-searching Indian Women (2003) and Devotion and Dissent in Indian History (2014). She has also co-edited (with Yogesh Sharma) Biography as History: Indian Perspectives (2009).
‘Indian migration history so far has been dominated by studies about indentured labourers going overseas, and the diaspora. Unlike in other parts of the world, where this field is much more extensive, this book makes a fresh start by pre- and early-colonial peasant, artisan, and merchant migrations taking centrestage.’
Jan Lucassen, International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, The Netherlands